United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a parliamentary democracy. The Head of State is the Queen Elizabeth II but her role is strictly symbolic. So, although she opens and dissolves Parliament and laws are passed in her name, the Queen herself plays no part in decisions made in Parliament. She has only little direct power and she generally acts on the advice of the Prime Minister with whom she has weekly business meetings. Unlike many contries Britain has an unwritten constitution, not being contained in a single legal document. It is based on statutes and important documents, customs and conventions, and can be changed by a simple Act of Parliament like any other law. So Parliament as a legislative body can in theory do whatever it wishes as the separation of powers between the Parliament, Government and Judiciary(law courts) is only theoretical and it´s not clearly divided. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution. The British system of government is the oldest parliamentary democracy in Europe. British parliament was formed in the eleventh century and, after the signing of the Magna Charta by King John in the year 1215, it came to power and became the main part in the system of government. In this way, England set up the base of democracy in the whole Europe. Parliament
The British Parliament – like most in the world – is bicameral, i.e. it composes of two chambers: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Commons
Members of the House of Commons are elected by local residents to represent an area of the country in Parliament. So each MP represents one of 650 constituencies (areas)into which UK is divided. They chose their Speaker among themselves. They are paid a salary and the expenses for the sittings. House of the Commons is one of the key places where government ministers, like the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, and the principal figures of the main political parties, work. General election are held at least every five years. Most MPs belong to a political party, and the party with the largest number of MPs in the House of Commons forms the government. The British government runs the UK and the leader of the government is the Prime Minister. He also appoints the whole Cabinet of 20 Ministers (MP’s from House of Commons) In practice, Prime Minister is the most important person in the British political system. At present, the Prime Minister is David Cameron, who is the leader of the Conservative Party and his official residence is at 10 Downing Street. The second strongest party from the elections is the official Opposition. The Lords
The House of Lords complements the work of the House of Commons. There is no fixed number of members , but currently there are around 830 members - many more than in the House of Commons and unlike MPs, the public dont elect the Lords. Their membership is mostly appointed and includes experts in many fields. There are three different types: life Peers, bishops and elected hereditary Peers.The head of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor who is the member of the Cabinet and the head of the law court at the same time. Lords are not paid a salary only their expenses for sittings are covered. Hereditary Peers
Most members of the Lords are hereditary peers. Their titles are inherited as the right to sit in the House has passed through the family from generation to generation. Clearly this is totally undemocratic and this right ended in 1999 by the House of Lords Act and the number of hereditary peers was reduced to 92 who remain until the next stage of the Lords reform process. Life Peers
Appointed for their lifetime only, these Lords' titles are not passed on to their children. Many of them are former senior politicians and others are very distinguished figures in fields such as education, health and social policy. Archbishops and bishops
A small number of other members - 26 - are Archbishops and Bishops of the...
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